Commissions are wonderful because I get paid. This helps cover basics like electricity, thread, machine maintenance, and lint rollers. Thanks to the interwebs it means people from different locales can commission a quilt, so that Patwig pieces travel, my expressive little denim ambassadors, far and wide.

So it was with this second commission for Gretchen from Texas.  She contacted me to make quilts from jeans saved up through the lives of her two sons, now men

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She also shared this photo with me because I had expressed curiosity about her sons. What an amazing picture.  I see their smiling faces, an easy camaraderie, and imagine them horsing around, since I’ve raised two boys of my own.  I see the jeans and wonder whether they were among the 34 pair I painstakingly disassembled over 30 hours. Then I see the gun, and am reminded anew at what different lives we all live in this vast country.  I remember discussions with other parents of my sons’ friends when they were small about whether or not to provide toy guns for play.  People had strong feelings, to put it mildly.  My general feeling is that I don’t wish to impose my opinions and beliefs on other people. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa, but we make choices as we live our lives and as long as you do not cause harm to other people, so be it.

But I didn’t get the picture until after this quilt, for her second son, was done. The first, for her oldest, was all jeans, and she had suggested I focus on the imperfections

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It’s pretty tonal, with lots of texture

But for this quilt, other fabrics and colors expanded the possibilities

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I set them out this way to get a quick visualization of whether there would be enough for a wide border … the answer was yes

And she sent items that had sentimental meaning

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I can picture a little boy decked out in this adorable apron “helping” his mom in the kitchen.  The keffiyeh was acquired hiking through Petra in Jordan

The keffiyeh reminded me of a pairing I made a few years back of a strong red Marimekko pattern with denim

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Still one of my favorites

and I was inspired to mix up all these new fabrics and see how they moved together.

For the most part I liked what was happening, but it’s always good to check in with the client, and it turned out Gretchen felt there was “too much going on.”  Wanting her to be as happy with it as she was with the first, which was mostly due to its tonality, I took out most of the color

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and arranged the quiltop in sections, or vignettes …

like the first quilt, it included denim representation of Mom and Dad ^… and had some strong forms, like the almost white leg below that looks like a handsaw

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Until it was done

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And she told me she LOVED it.  If you love it, share with others!  Thanks as always for reading to the end.